Saturday, May 17, 2008

Gratulerer Med Dagen

S7302336.JPGToday, the 17th of May, is Norway's independence day - the day they declared independence from Sweden. It was quite a busy day. We started off with a parade in Tyssedal from the town center, up the hill and around to the pavilion at the school. People were greeting each other with 'gratulerer med dagen', which roughly translated means 'congratulations on the day'. It's also what you say on a birthday or any other special day.
Everyone wore their best clothes, which means the national dress if you can afford it - the 'bunard' that is different depending on which region of Norway you are from. Pretty dang spiffy if you ask me. If I spoke Norwegian better I'd probably save up for one just so I could sport it on holidays. I guess I have a soft spot for cultural expression - you should see me in my african clothes or central asian garb. I think I look better in them than western clothes sometimes.
At the pavilion, the Tyssedal choir sang. They are apparently famous throughout Hardanger and pack out the house whenever they sing anywhere. I wonder if they need any recording done... They sounded pretty good, though it was a bit hard to hear because of all the kids running around and talking and yelling. I think if the kids did the same sort of thing in the US they'd be smacked, but here in Norway they are tolerated. Something about them needing 'freedom to express themselves' according to popular opinion. Not in my house. Bring up a child in the way they should go, and when old they will not stray, as Proverbs says.
S7302367.JPG After lunch we went in to Odda, where another parade was going on. MuchS7302366.JPG bigger than the one on May 1st, and much bigger than the one in Tyssedal that morning. All the local believers had made a banner and were going to march together, so I went to join them. It was quite a good experience. At the end we gathered at an open-air grass amphitheater, and there was some singing and the mayor spoke. Dave Henrickson kindly translated for me.
Finally, with the day over, around 6pm I went to the Filadelfia pentecostal church for a meal and a message. I played a song after the message by Roman (from Russia) in Norwegian, which Samuel S7302376.JPG from the Congo translated into English for me. It's crazy how many languages there are floating around here. We filled up on sandwiches and coffee and topped it off with many different kinds of cakes and ice-cream, all in celebration of freedom. Now this is the kind of freedom I like to enjoy!
Only one downside: no fireworks. But we did have cannon salutes - almost as good. =)

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